Texas loses half a billion trees to epic drought
A punishing drought in Texas has not only damaged crops, killed cattle, and led to widespread fires, but has also killed off a significant portion of the state's trees: between 100 and 500 million trees have perished to drought stress according to preliminary analysis. The estimate does not include tree mortality caused by fires. The drought has been linked to La Niña conditions, which causes drying in the Southern U.S., and has likely been exacerbated by global climate change. In all around 10 percent of Texas' forests may have been lost to the drought—so far. Trees are expected to continue suffering and dying in Texas even if rain comes, however forecasters predict dry conditions will remain in Texas for another six months at least.
"This is a generational event," Barry Ward, executive director of Trees for Houston told Reuters. "Mature trees take 20 or 30 years to re-grow. This will make an aesthetic difference for decades to come."
For further information: http://news.mongabay.com/2011/1221-hance_texas_trees.html
Photo: US Department of Agriculture